The firms unveiled their partnership Wednesday during Circle’s Converge22 conference in San Francisco.
Block is a payments firm that runs Cash App and is helmed by Twitter (TWTR) co-founder and notable bitcoin (BTC) proponent Jack Dorsey. Its filial, TBD, is an open-source developer platform that has been working on a decentralized crypto exchange called TBDex. TBD has been working on a so-called Web5 decentralized identity initiative that would allow people to retain their user data and interact with each other without intermediaries.
Various government-issued currencies’ value nosedived against the U.S. dollar due to rampant inflation worldwide and aggressive tightening of monetary policy. People living in countries with rapidly depreciating currencies – such as in Argentina or Turkey – took refuge in crypto to protect their savings from devaluation, and U.S. dollar-linked stablecoins became a popular alternative for savings and remittances to elude local capital controls and unlock cheaper transactions.
“The U.S. dollar is the reserve currency today, and we think bitcoin might be the reserve currency of tomorrow. Stablecoins are the bridge in between,” Emily Chiu, TBD’s chief operating officer, told CoinDesk.
The collaboration between TBD and Circle aims to lay the foundation to access stablecoins globally, so developers can build upon the infrastructure and crypto wallet providers can plug into the open-source protocol. This includes building the sufficient links – on-ramps and off-ramps – between the traditional government-issued (fiat) currencies and blockchain-based digital currencies.
“This is crypto’s last-mile problem, how you get people in and out of crypto,” Chiu said. “Today, it’s too hard for someone who isn't a crypto native to access crypto in a decentralized way, and for crypto natives to off-ramp into fiat money depending on their jurisdictions.”
Circle’s USDC, the second largest stablecoin on the market with a $49 billion circulating supply, stands to benefit from being a bridge for cross-border payments.
Kash Razzaghi, Circle’s chief revenue officer, told CoinDesk that remittances are one of the most compelling use cases for stablecoins, and highlighted the U.S.-Mexican cross-border payments market as a focus for Circle.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish, a cryptocurrency exchange, which in turn is owned by Block.one, a firm with interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets including bitcoin and EOS. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.